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Rivkin last won the day on February 14

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About Rivkin

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    Kirill R.

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  1. 17th century publications, from which considerable portion of this detailed genealogical information is derived, for some reason are quite inaccurate when it comes to 10th, 11th, 12th, and sometimes even 13th century. Nobody knows why. Its one of the great mysteries of this world. I mean if it says the smith was active 1173-1196, you would expect him to wait for the first day of 1173, pick up his tools, and then as any decent person would - put them away in 1196, making sure his name not to be used as signature ever since. But there is a crazy theory out there, which I personally don't believe in. It might be they did not read Meikan.
  2. Asking dealer's opinion on another dealer is redundant. What you'll get is: The papers are fake. The sword is fake. The polish is fake. The images are fake. The store is also fake. ..... but on the other hand I might just have what you are interested in. The worst thing - sometimes such advice is true. On this blade - its within a typical price range for TJ early Bizen work. 150-225 or so. Its not the earliest, in my (very personal and erroneous opinion) its more along the lines of Ichimonji (Fukuoka?), but it could be that in some 17th century publication Tochika is marked as ko-Bizen and all thus signed work is now labeled as such. Its Japan. Which does not detract from it being very active, passionate and interesting work, in good polish and decent condition, not too often seen and quite early. If you like the style - go for it. Its a great blade.
  3. Unfortunately nihonto community has only two skills: a. Reading papers. b. Finding smith's name in a database.
  4. Why gimei? 90% of Muromachi Bizen signatures are done in thin script, with pronounced thinning in the middle of most strikes, typically with vertical strikes aligning parallel to the edge, with more or less constant distance towards it. Here the writing is as broad as a typical shinto style, the angling of strikes is random, the distance is poorly maintained. Sugata of late Muromachi wakizashi can be a tad straight, but one would hope for more graceful curvature. Maybe photography distorted it. Maybe I am used to somewhat upper grade Muromachi Bizen, and this one is a really dustbin example, but I doubt that. Just a personal opinion.
  5. From the shape its Kambun shinto. The mei is cut in shinto rather than koto Bizen style. There was shinto Bizen Sukesada, but besides him Bizen signatures in shinto are extremely uncommon. The mei cut by uneven, shaky hand, which is uncommon for Bizen shinto or koto for that matter. Its most likely gimei.
  6. As I have problems reading kanji, I've been a "victim" of this a dozen times. In the mild form its me picking up a blade at a store, showing off my skill by naming the smith, the seller nods and congratulates me... and later I discover the sayagaki states a later generation, with somewhat lesser financial expectation. Another mild case is choosing in the sales description the earliest possible date in Fujishiro, Meikan or whatever text even when it does not make any sense. This one is very common, but at least one can look at the blade and judge if that's of the period claimed. But there many Japanese dealers, especially on auction sites, who will write the entire description pointing to the school's founder or the most prominent name, while the sayagaki Explicitly hints towards a lesser name. Some will even include papers to another blade, by the famous smith - and then you recieve you purchase without this paper - it was just an "example" of what a paper would look like, no it does not come with the blade! Dumpster diving in Japan is ripe with dangers.
  7. Its really bizarre that the entire English text alludes to antiquity, almost stating its one of the oldest nihonto... While in reality the style is developed to the point of going well into Ichimonji era.
  8. Took me 15 years of nihonto collecting to start specializing. But then one is facing the fact I have an opportunity to buy for cheap mid to high end Bizen swords at least once every year (and I don't collect Bizen), which all then go to friends and dealers, but never had an opportunity to get a deal on Awataguchi (which I do). Specialization often means one is no longer too active in collecting. Transiotioned to the stage of keeping long term but a few blades.
  9. To me this Naoe Shizu is a good example of how subjective koto can be. There is no visible activity within hamon, given the photography angle its pale grey color suggests it could be predominantly nioi based. You can't see sunagashi, or inidividual nie grains. I would not consider a Soshu blade like this attractive, but people obviously do. Yes, there is utsuri, but from description it seems to be all around the place rather than well formed as bo or midare utsuri pattern - again someone would consider this a plus, to me its a kind of thing one often sees on Uda Muromachi blades. Basically dark spots in jigane. Jigane itself, masame is a bit too rough for my taste. Can be excacirbated by the photography though. It can be a good blade, I don't know, but definitely not my cup of tea. With koshirae, if you want something really collectible, it has to be: purposefully made, fittings by the same hand, lacquer work underlining the style... none of the blades shown in this thread does that. If its not collectible grade, then for me personally the fittings' quality is the main concern and the basis for cost analysis, whether it was assembled a bit earlier or a bit later is far less important. Average fittings = average koshirae.
  10. At the core of the issue is opinions often being not about swords, but rather "what I like to collect and so should you". For myself, collectibles are also goods. What is offered for sale in 80% of cases is worth the amount asked, adjusted for the given store's reputation. If you can kantei on high level, you can bend the curve at the expense of risks, if you can't - you'll loose 95% of the time trying to do so. Aside from that, the only question is what one wants to collect and at what level. At a cheaper store 750k yen can be a good ubu Nambokucho tanto from a second tier but good school or good+ Tegai mumei katana. No koshirae. Or above average Nambokucho waki (i.e. something severely cut down) like Naoe Shizu grind down to 17 inches with average koshirae. Daito koshirae will be 100k for something very basic, 250k for something pleasant, 500k+ for something quite collectible. 750k can give you a good shinto katana with second/third tier signature with very basic koshirae. Or average shinto piece with average or somewhat better koshirae. In shinto waki you can reach for higher end pieces. If you go shinto or shinshinto mumei you can get much better names (Naotane, shodai Tadayoshi, Kiyondo etc.). Even Kiyomaro will not be much more. You can occasionally buy a decent Muromachi daito for this price from a virtually unknown maker (there are plenty of those), but those are rare since they are typically either Oei to Onin or Momoyama. That's about all the options. Straying too far from those, like buying upper second tier shinto name (Yasutsugu?) likely means there is a problem with the blade.
  11. All of these blades are sort of the same class, plus minus. Ok koshirae, ok shinto works. Bad photographs. Number 1 I think will be a bit more interesting in real life, number 5 is also not bad by comparison. Ishido blade is impressive, there is an issue that yes any prospective buyer will bulk at it being mumei, and occasionally you can get ishido mumei for less money. But its a fun blade, and if I had to make a choice between all of those I would definitely choose this one and bite the bullet on potential resale losses. Its a serious style which is worth studying. Tuition needs to be paid. If you want something with ok koshirae, aoi art and a few other sites could be a good place to monitor. You will get quite a few things offered in this price range. I always thought Kambun shinto is the right place to get into collecting. Its bright, has easy to appreciate aesthetics, with plenty of mid-ranking and lesser known names that did good work. One can just watch out for something that has nice, bright, consistent hada in itame and the hamon with a consistent foam of nie at its upper portion - and high chance its above average work. Lots of sunagashi, nie spreading throughout hamon will point out even better pieces. Quality assessment for this period can be pretty straightforward. Regarding resale... That's a whole different game. For example, one can definitely buy something quite interesting in this price range, but the maker will have one sentence to his name in Markus's book. Or you can buy a very bottom piece by shodai Hisamichi. There are quite a few of those. Signed, ubu, papered, everything. It will resale well, but is this fun? Important to remember - people who write guides on how to collect - usually don't. That's the way society works. You either do it, or have a title and teach it. Take any advice with lots of salt. Trust no one, and most of all yourself.
  12. Rivkin

    A tanto

    I would vote sue-seki, late Muromachi, but unfortunately that's the type of work where one can go all the way to Bizen and still be close enough. i.e. not too distinctive, at least to my eyes.
  13. I don't know about the policy - do we discuss things here? The nakago color is extremely uniform, the writing is not in Muromachi style.
  14. That's probably the very core of the issue. While do we discuss so much the generalities and so little - any specific blades. Supposedly the ones we like... How much of the current nihonto scene is social and how much is blades. Feels like 90/10. Happened in all collecting communities in the past xx years. Lots of drinking, near zero interest in arranging for rare blades to be seen. Decease that every museum board and staff member caught as well (or did it come from them? would not be surprised), rare exceptions granted. 15 years ago when I was younger, after five years of paperwork I got to see what used to be Pergamon's stuff. The door had to be kicked open, and then wonderful three weeks with pneumonia from inhaling the dust everything in site was covered with. Everyone's just too damn busy. So many titles and medals to acquire, so many meetings to attend, so many things to promote. The standards of proletarian worldview need to be satisfied. Bigelow, Stone, Compton. Bygone era. Finished. Now an advertisement for a recent American book on tsuba is a pagelong author's genealogy and personal stuff joined by a photo of a few examples, frankly suitable for a beginner.
  15. I don't know much about Monet, but nearly all Renoirs offered in the past 40 years were trash. Etudes, studies, his weird period of imitating artist who should not be, etc. Major galleries, minor galleries - the name carries, the substance is bad. Its easier to talk about someone like Cortes. Very consistent, repeatative, not liked by the critics, but attractive and very predictable when it comes to quality/style/size/condition. At a provincial auction - 15-40k. Christies - 40-60k. I have a gallery next door. Not the best example hangs at 100k. Its a "super-retail" price level. They also offer better works, better names, and buying those maybe makes sense - you are unlikely to find the absolute top, ready to purchase outside of super-retail places. But buying Cortes at a super-retail place is not a stellar investment. This being said, a dumpster diver who gets Cortes at 25k does not really pay 25k. He paid with the past mistakes for the education, and he still pays for the fact that he buys based on photographs and there is a chance of flaw, or he simply does not bond with the piece. So its really 30-35k. Not counting the time spent. Best in the world Durer expert hits 25-50% success rates when buying online. The rest are later prints/issues, where you could instantly loose 25-40% of resale value because of the auction fees. In most arms and armor positions, you can acquire top of the world collection never having to deal with super-retail. You just need really good understanding and decent means. Mamluks are exception, the total market is like 100 pieces altogether, so one has to bid against people with 10-20B at their disposal. Nihonto is different - because of papers. Yes, Sadamune needs to be acquired at super-retail, it needs to be TJ, and there is nothing to do about it, the chances of pulling this one out are just too small. Shizu Kaneuji - completely different game. There are really exceptional quantities of nihonto in the world. More so than any other historical blades. And papers are double edged sword. They created peculiar system where a lot of experts and dealers can't kantei. Can read papers though. On the other hand I can't, without study materials. So there is a space for dumpster diving, not as wide as with continental chokuto for example, but it does exist. Being a dumpster diver you get to brag about things you pulled, skipping the part where you had to take 50% price cut after seeing the item in hand. No, 16K Kaneuji is actually more than that, considering the fails and education investment, but if one can kantei, can see quality and is willing to put in the hours, its above what one would find on average on display at a gallery. Does not mean he is willing to invest more time in having it polished/sayagakied/Juyoed etc. Frankly, what's fun in that process compared to finding cool stuff. Plus you need to learn the whole different set of skills, like arcane secret nagasa formulas for what makes a slam dunk TJ. And somehow learn to tolerate the process of interaction with religiously arrogant folk that forms the bones of nihonto marketing/fixing-upping. Still does not mean owning such blade is a crime, or there is anything horrible about this price segment. Again, you can buy something at 15mil and then have a whole bunch of issues reselling it, or you can have the same at 2mil level. Yes, in these two cases you will be selling to different kinds of collectors.
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